At the Bradford White booth, attention was focused on its high-performance, 25-gallon propane water heater that features an integrated mixing valve, stores water at a higher (180 degrees F) temperature, and generates enough hot water in the first hour for whirlpool tubs, garden tubs, or body sprays (in addition to whole-house duty). The space-saving model GX-2-TW-25S6SX also features an “intelligent” gas control that eliminates the need for a pilot light that burns constantly. According to our calculations, this product produces heat at $30 per 1 million Btu-or about as efficiently as an Energy Star propane tankless water heater.

The buzz at the Empire Comfort booth was all about the Mantis propane fireplace, which boasts 90 percent efficiency and exhaust gas that is cool enough to run through PVC piping. Using PVC for venting makes the total installed price (unit, labor, and materials) comparable to a direct-vent fireplace or pellet stove, according to the rep. It uses about 35 percent less fuel compared to any other vented heater or fireplace system per Btu of heat and also adds humidity to a room.

At Lennox, the SLP998V furnace, from the Dave Lennox® Signature Collection, attracted attention for its 98.2 percent AFUE. Lennox says that it’s not only the most energy-efficient furnace on the market, but also the most quiet. It operates much like the cruise control system of a high-performance car, automatically making adjustments as necessary to allow for maximum fuel efficiency.

Rheem introduced an integrated HVAC and water heating system that offers home heating and hot water from a single source. This air handler is designed to fit an existing home’s forced-air system with a hydronic solution. Because it manufactures both HVAC and water heating systems, Rheem is the first company to develop an integrated HVAC and water heating system built by one manufacturer.

Thermador touted its exclusive, sealed Star® burners, a unique five-point design that distributes 35 percent more heat than round burners. It also includes an ExtraLow® feature, which provides the widest variety of temperature control of any simmer system. It cycles on and off to maintain a precise temperature.

A popular item at the Velux booth was its solar water heater with an integrated propane storage heater, an all-in-one solution meant to lower equipment costs. The storage tanks are available in 60-, 80-, and 120-gallon sizes and have been designed to provide the equivalent hot water performance as standard 30-, 50-, and 75-gallon residential water heaters, respectively.

Energy Calculations

A brand-new 0.85EF storage water heater (such as the Bradford White unit featured in this story) operating in Orlando, Fla. (the location of this year’s IBS), produces heat at a cost of $30 and 163 pounds of CO2 per 1 million Btu-about on par with an Energy Star-rated propane tankless water heater. Curious about how your water heater stacks up? Try our new Heating Energy Cost and Carbon Calculator and compare the results yourself.